torstai 8. lokakuuta 2015

European taikai in Lisbon 2015, Day 2

 The 'main' taikai day started with 6:15 wake up call.  This day is only in English, sorry Finnish readers! In the lack of time I've chosen the langugage that most can read.
 The portugese had decided that it would be a good idea to have a schedule which in case of traffic or indeed a tropical storm - would still start in time. One would say, rare quality in Southern Europeans. To assure the safe passing of our bus transportation to the taikai, we were driving behind a motorbricade. No, I'm not giving. Someone had a meeting about this. It was the local hell's angels, accompanying us for our fight club event of the season. Fair enough!
Exept when we did get there, standing around commenced. Followed by ceremonies where luckily Timo and I were at the floor and therefore takes down the amount of pictures that I could take of this event.  After the infamous marching down the aistle after your country flag and standing around for all the countries' national anthems, there was a small gap in schedule which I used to sneak my camera upsatirs for my friends to take pictures of our embu. The security guard was unsure if I was allowed to enter the audience area. I said to him pointing at my gi: "Come on, you can use your eyes. I don't have my badge because I'm inside the competition. Ergo the number on my back. I am pretty sure I'm not trying to sneak in to 'watch' the taikai for free..."
 So pictures of my embu with Timo (c) Henrik Persson. Thank you!
It is easy to take pictures of embus - point and shoot right? There's plenty of thows, kicks, kiais and apparently someone's big arses around...
The comedy part of our performance was that in the first throw, Timo's number tag got loose from sweating. Then on part 2, I collected it to my leg. You can see many joyful faces watching us perform. Perhaps it is due to the piece of paper stuck on my leg. Or perhaps the comedy of two slightly off people trying to have a go at making one.
Overall, we were happy with our performance. It was where we coud go with the kind of traning we had had this year. I doubt the situation would have been that much better with twice  aweek training, but I guess we will never know.  I think the judges were very right to give us 213p. I am proud of us for finishing, competing, training the whole lot. Taikai is never a bad idea. I'll write another post about what I think of the embukai this year.
 After our own performance at 3rd dan and above series, Timo fetched my camera from the audience, so I have some pictures from the floor as well.
 The French certainly giving it their best shot...
I might be just a little bit in love with this embu... Some of it might be due to the hair quality but let's not tell anyone, right...
 However there was one couple above all that I was cheering for in our category, the 3rd Dan and above 'males'. And here's half of it...
 This was obviously the 'main category', only the best of the best (plus us):)
 Per and ... also were very impressive.
 The judges were from all the countries. In here Pyka sensei is giving top scores for the adjant tatami.
 Italian concentration.
 For embus, you get minus points for example on: DOing it under 1,5minutes or over 2 minutes; or doing techniques that are not part of your ranks - but overall, the big issue is performance expression: Did you yell hard enough, were your distance the right, did you keep eye contact, did you it your punches direct, were your hitting and kicking points correct etc. It's a dance, really and it's about doing it beautifully and right.
 The styles might vary, but the intensity, speed and attitude is what's going to win it for you.
After the competition was over, there was also a performance section from the French, Italians, Spannish and Germans. Some of it was a group embu like the one below...
 This was followed by the finals - first time ever, all the categories that had more than 10 pairs, got 4 pairs to go to the finals and show their embus again.
 In our category, the French were victorious. The winning pair is the one above, the second was the one below, both French.
 Yes, these were great embus to watch. I am certainly not complaining.
 But the one I rooted for, Christina and Carlos from Portugal, came in third place.
 Their show was an act of beauty. They are people who really beat the odds. They are not young acrobatic or entirely men... So this pair for me says: Anyone can do it. And do it well. I was so moved to watch them, I am so honoured to know them. C&C, you are an inspiration to work hard and aim for the sky for me. Well done guys!
If this is the last time we see this embu, I feel great that I was there to take witness. You were awesome.
Some first comers in our category enjoying the feel of the floor.
I know that people are always bias towards their friends - but I feel these two would have deserved a spot at the finals at least. Roman and Arnaud - If you two can do such an embu by living in TWO different countries, I'm sure Kirsi and I can make one for San Francisco in two years time while living in Jyväskylä-Lahti (160km separtation).
 So after the show, there's not much more to be done than to wait around and cheer for others.
 The fourth place in our category went to our Russian friends who I also would have wished had won. There was so many great embus... In my mind, there was nothing but winners. That's what Shorinji Kempo should be all about.
 The Portugese federation had also invited about 50 kids to witness the embu. There wasn't much for them to do, but they sure look cute on camera. Made me miss my own baby.
 On the female Yudansha (2nd dan and above) series, I'm so happy to say: Hanna and Lotta are back! What odds these two are also facing: They both had stopped Shorinji Kempo briefly due to having kids and finishing studies, but they are back now, competing once more. They've been in the same competition with me and Kirsi since European Taikai in 2003 (Where they won), through Norcia (came in second) and they won yet again this time. You guys are also our inspiration, well done, good job, girls!
 Arai Sensei and Aosaka Sensei were honouring the camp by being the main instructors present.
 Team Finland might not have done as well as other countries, but we were all very proud to participate into the competitions and also happy with our performances. This is the spirit of Shorinji Kempo - everyone should improve themselves as a priority. All of these four kenshis made a huge journey and development in this embu round. Now it's time to start preparing for California 2017!
 Kirsi poses with the man behind the Taikai, Nuno:)
 And with the man of man faces, sensei Steve:)
After Saturday's festivities, it was time for some philosophy from Aosaka Sensei and some prepromotion of the coming World Taikai, which was inroduced by Yoshi Sensei.
 Finns are gathering.
 At the end of the day we were treated with one hour of Aosaka Sensei's training.
 How do you make a man fall? Aosaka Sensei performed on his favourite practise partner and friend, Alex Tilly Sensei from Stockholm.
 At 70 years old - will you have these moves?
First day of this Taikai can be read here.
Also check out previous taikais under the tag 'taikai' in the side bar.

Be patient my friends - I know you are eager to see more pictures and stories from the taikai, but as I am in a critical part of my PhD right now, I can only do so much blog work per day. It takes about 3h to prepare one of these posts including editing pictures and so on. So they will come eventually here, just when I have the time slots. Also I will put all the pictures (also beyond the blog) into a dropbox link where you can go and download your own pictures of your embus and so on. But no promises on when - in the next few weeks at least.

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